Union ballots on Royal Mail strike

By politics.co.uk staff

Major disruption to postal services are a real threat as the Communication Workers’ Union ballots for strike action from today.

All 121,000 postal workers across Britain are being balloted as the CWU seeks a new job security agreement. The Royal Mail has described the threatened strike action as “wholly irresponsible”.

“Modernisation is crucial to the future success of Royal Mail, but the implementation of change must be agreed and it must bring with it modern pay and conditions,” CWU’s deputy general secretary Dave Ward said.

He argued modernisation under the Royal Mail’s plans would diminish rather than improve services.

“We believe that Royal Mail management has completely mishandled the current situation,” he added.

“Disruption is hurting small businesses and other consumers, but postal workers are suffering more than anyone in the current dispute. Small businesses stand to suffer more with reduced services in the future, if Royal Mail doesn’t reach a national agreement.”

The ballot will close on October 8th, with the results expected either on October 8th or October 9th.

Royal Mail has condemned the decision to go ahead with the ballot as talks with union leaders continue. It wants to cut down the size of its workforce as mail levels fall.

The average postbag today contains almost ten million fewer letters than just three years ago, it claims.

Royal Mail’s operations director Paul Tolhurst said: “Royal Mail is getting on with the essential changes the union has signed up to in a fair and reasonable way, while the union continues to try to back pedal from its commitment to modernisation and impose a veto on the progress.

“We urge the CWU to abandon strikes and the threat of strikes, and focus on providing customers with the service they need and expect, rather than planning to hurt them with the threat of more strikes.”

There have been over 60 meetings between the Royal Mail and the CWU in recent months, but agreement remains elusive as the confrontation reaches a climax.